Filipino Grandmaster Wesley So climbed to No. 10 in the world chess ranking after an impressive run in the ongoing Millionaires Chess tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The 20-year-old So picked up 7 points following his impressive run of five wins and 2 draws in the tournament which offers $100,000 to the champion, the biggest top prize in chess history.
So defeated American GM Timur Gareev in 41 moves of Ruy Lopez in the seventh round, giving him a share of the lead with American and Webster University teammate GM Ray Robson with 6 points going to the final rounds.
The Millionaire Chess employs 7-round Swiss system, with the top four advancing to the knockout phase finals on Tuesday.
With So in the final round are Robson, Yangi Yu and Jianchao Zhou, both of China.
Live world rankings shows So with Elo rating of 2762, just 5.5 points behind American GM Hikaru Nakamura.
At the start of the year, So said his goal was to make it to the top 10.
Before the start of the Millionaires, he was No. 14 in the live world rankings with 2755 points.
Although the tournament is not sanctioned by FIDE, the world governing body of chess, the points earned or lost count in the ratings.
So cannot play in FIDE-sanctioned tournaments for two years while he finalizes his transfer of federations from the Philippines to the United States. The prohibition will end in November next year.
So can readily switch affiliations if he pays the $50,000 sanction fee. It is not clear if he is willing to pay the fee if he wins the Millionaires tournament.
Joining the world top 10 rankings will give So the privilege to join elite tournaments where he can go up against world No. 1 and current world champion Magnus Carlsen of the Netherlands, Fabiano Caruana of Italy, Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria, Levon Aronian of Armenia, Viswanathan Anand of India, Alexander Giri of the Netherlands, Sergie Karjakin of Russia and Nakamura.
Aside from Gareev, among the victims of So in the tournament were Americans GM Aleksandr Lenderman, IM Jeffrey Xiong, GM Alexander Ivanov and Robert Perez. He drew with with GM Alejandro Ramirez of the United States and GM Yangi Yu of China.